5 signs you need a rest day

5 signs you need a rest day

Every great workout routine needs a built-in rest day now and then to prevent overtraining and injury. No amount of motivation or dedication can overcome the body’s need for recovery. As you and your workout buddy consider how often to add in rest days, keep an eye out for these five warning signs that your body needs a day to regenerate.

Decreased appetite

Inadequate rest can lead to a buildup of stress hormones like cortisol. Stress hormones can slow digestion and inhibit the release of hunger hormones (ghrelin). Fueling for workouts is always important, including a great hydration plan and eating colorful veggies and quality protein, to keep digestion functioning normally.

If you’re doing all that and find you’re just not as hungry, your body may need a rest day to reset your appetite.

Increased mood swings

Those stress hormones that can slow digestion and affect your appetite also have an impact on your emotions. If you find yourself moody, feeling sluggish, or a bit high-strung, shake up your normal workout routine. Do something just for fun, like taking a leisurely stroll or hike with a friend, and you’ll be re-energized and ready to work out again as your hormones regulate.

Increased sleeplessness

Sleep hygiene habits can set the stage for regenerative, high-quality sleep, but those stress hormones can thwart even the best bedtime routines. Schedule your rest day and stay consistent with your bedtime and you’ll be getting great sleep again in no time.

Extended or excessive soreness

You know the difference between “good” post-workout aches and the kind of soreness that keeps you from working out. That’s the bad kind. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that comes around a day or so after a workout is due to lactic acid buildup. If you’re also getting knotted or tight muscles, that’s a sure sign you need an active recovery day to flush lactic acid and roll out those tight spots. Consider it a maintenance day for your muscles, and drink water to help the process along.

Decreased energy

If your sleep and hydration are on point, but you still don’t feel like training, you might need a break. Those pesky stress hormones can wreak havoc on your nervous system, so give them a day to clear out while you hydrate effectively and fuel for recovery and increased energy.

If you have a rest day once a week and still face any of these issues on a regular basis, you may need to re-evaluate your recovery activities. Schedule a personal training session to talk with a Mercy Fitness Center Personal Trainer about how to improve your rest day planning and protect yourself from overwork, burnout, and potential injury.